There’s never been a bigger or more damaged heart than that of Lykke Li. The Swedish singer/songwriter’s third album, I Never Learn, is what she described as the final segment of her heartbreaking trilogy, which also includes 2008’s Youth Novels and 2011’s Wounded Rhymes.
I Never Learn is filled to the brim with morose ballads and wistful tunes that follow the artist’s saga of angst and emotional turmoil. Throughout the album, Li is in a perpetual state of unrequited, ill-fated, immensely complicated love. After over half a decade of fighting for grief-stricken romance, it’s easy to note that no one loves love like Lykke Li. And no one has been hurt by love as hard as Lykke Li.
Lykke Li’s I Never Learn is her darkest and most symphonic work to date. Each song is riddled with soul-stripping emotion and filled with burning passion. On the album, her exuberant, gothic/baroque pop sound is rarely stripped down but always raw.
In fact, each song feels like a diary entry. She mourns lost love, fears sleeping alone, and feels her heart ripped apart by heartbreak. She titles her songs “Never Gonna Love Again,” “Love Me Like I’m Not Made Of Stone,” and “I Never Learn” — all phrases that could easily be ripped out of a tormented young poet’s private journal. However, these sentiments don’t come across as needy or racked with self-pity. Her’s is a relatable pain that speaks to anyone who has ever had a broken heart.
Lykke Li’s prose reveals the inner workings of a sentimental, tortured lover. In her explosive, moving track “No Rest For The Wicked,” she regretfully reflects, “There’s no hope for the weary / you let them win without a fight / I let my good one down, I let my true love die / I had his heart, but I broke it every time.”
In the beautiful “Never Gonna Love Again,” she vows to close herself off to any future love, a delusional (or at least horrifically unfortunate) sentiment, but aren’t we all a bit over love when scorned post-break up? “In the sea of guilt by the fallen stars / lonely chimes sing of pain / there’s a storm, only love remains,” she laments in the album’s title track, before going on to exclaim “I’m right here, I’m your star-crossed lover / lie here like a starless lover / die here as your phantom lover.”
I mean, she is the queen of star-crossed lovers, afterall.
As a whole, Lykke Li’s mournful album is mature, yet painfully dramatic. Each song is powerful, but touching. Really, if you aren’t feeling something by the end of a Lykke Li album, you aren’t really listening.
I Never Learn isn’t just a record to play on repeat during a hard breakup; it’s an album to listen to when you’re in the mood to light a cigarette, ponder mortality, and question the darkness of your soul for hours on end. Honestly, you need that from time to time.
Lykke Li Tour Dates:
05/19 – The Theatre At Ace Hotel – Los Angeles
06/14 – Sonar Festival – Barcelona, Spain
06/20 – Southside Festival – Tuttlingen, Germany
06/21 – Hurricane Festival – Scheeβel, Germany
06/22 – Best Kept Secret Festival – Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands
06/29 – Park Live Festival – Moscow, Russia
07/03 – Roskilde Festival – Roskilde, Denmark
07/05 – Open’er Festival – Kosakowo, Poland
07/17 – Slottsjfell Festival – Oslo, Norway
07/20 – Latitude Festival – Southwold, UK
08/01 – Lollapalooza – Chicago
08/03 – Osheaga Festival – Montreal, Quebec
08/08 – Squamish Festival – Vancouver, Canada
08/08-10 – Outside Lands Festival – San Francisco
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